I have to admit, Gareth Evans’ “The Raid: Redemption” wasn’t on my collective radar. It was by way of two friends on Twitter that I was even aware of it, but damn was it worth it. I can easily recommend The Raid as the movie to catch this weekend if you can find it playing near you (and if you happen to like action films). It’s been a while since I’ve run to the theatre twice in one week for the same film. It’s not perfect, and won’t win any kind of dramatic awards, but it’ll probably have you coming back for a second dose of the action.
The film has three things going for it:
1.) The action is intense, when it happens. The breaks between action moments are small.
2.) The film is short. At about 100 minutes, you almost won’t even realize when the film’s done.
3.) The music really moves it.
Evans and The Raid’s main star, Iko Uwais worked together back in 2009’s Merantau, which I’m looking to see now. The premise of The Raid: Redemption is a simple one. Rama (Uwais), along with 20 other SWAT team (or SWAT Team like) members perform a raid on a building owned by a criminal lord. Once the team gets in, they find the tables turned on them, with everyone in the building becoming their enemy. This forces the team to try to stay alive and find a way to either escape, or get the Boss. That’s all it is, and honestly, that’s all The Raid would need to be as an action film. It’s as simple a story as Fist of Fury, Hard Boiled, and quite possibly The Expendables. There’s a side element in the film that I won’t go into detail on, which adds to things a little, but all the audience needs to know is that in The Raid, you’re getting pure action. If you’re walking into this expecting something more thought invoking (and that’s not a detriment to the film), you may want to look elsewhere.
Another high point of the film is its soundtrack, performed by Mike Shinoda (of Linkin Park) and Joe Trapanese has a number of kinetic tracks in it that help to fuel the battles. It comes together very well, though part of me wishes that the main theme had a larger instrumental piece to it.
The pacing for The Raid is pretty good. Again, the time between fights are minimal, and most of it is used to showcase some of the situations the team and the members that live in the complex are in. While a few of these can be tense, they don’t really relax to the point where you’d hope to see more action.
If The Raid suffers from any drawbacks, it’s that that the fights themselves can end up being a little on the repetitive side. Mind you, this could be just a side effect of having seen the film twice already but you’ll find that by the time you get to the second to last fight, some of the moves seem to be repeated. Still, you won’t see anything better than this if you’re looking for a straight laced action film. An easily recommended pick.